Like any broke bitch, I love a DIY project. And while building shelving units and weaving wall hangings are all well and good, there’s really nothing more satisfying than a beauty DIY. Wait, wait, I tell a lie. There’s nothing more satisfying than a K-beauty DIY.
K-beauty refers to anything broadly inspired by Korean beauty routines. You’ve probably already heard of them—they’re infamous for consisting of ten steps and resulting in the complexion of a porcelain doll. And whilst K-beauty can be extremely product-focused, there are ways to incorporate some aspects using stuff you already have at home. Here are my top six K-beauty-inspired skincare DIYs.
DIY Sheet Mask
Sheet masks are one of the best ways to deliver a significant hit of hydration to your skin. Because the moisturizing goo is trapped between the layer of sheetiness and your face, it cannot escape, and thus must be sucked up by your complexion. But some sheet masks are just insanely expensive, particularly when you factor in that they’re one-use products. However, for a bargain price, you can buy ready-to-soak options online. You can also use rice paper for a similar effect, but don’t forget to cut your own eye, nose, and mouth holes.
The obvious thing to soak your DIY sheet in is your favorite skincare product. Any hydrating toner, essence, serum, or light moisturizer would probably do the trick. But if you want to get real mad-scientist, you can concoct your own slime formula. If you have a basic knowledge of ingredient properties, you can design your own custom mask. For dry skin, rosewater and argan oil make great bases, and anything with hyaluronic acid or snail mucin will work well. If you’re oilier, witch hazel and jojoba oil will likely work better. Super sensitive skins can benefit from steeped green or chamomile teas. If you’re more acne-prone, try adding a few drops of tea-tree oil into the mix. As you play around, you’ll be able to discover exactly what works best for you and customize accordingly.
DIY Eye Patches
Those amazingly soothing and hydrating under-eye patches you see can also be DIYed in a similar manner. This time, though, you don’t even need to buy a special sheet substance. You can just use good old cotton rounds, which every girl always has at least 500 of in her home. Tear them in half (one half for each eye) and soak in an essence or serum. Make sure that the product you’re using has no harsh ingredients, fragrance, or color—the skin surrounding the eyes is super thin and thus easily irritated. Plain, unscented rosewater is always a good bet.
You can also apply a thick layer of your usual eye cream, then apply a soaked “eye patch” over the top. This will act as a moisturizing mask for your under-eyes, trapped in place by the patches. If you’ve got a big hangover, it also feels literally amazing.
DIY Peel-Off Mask
While the jury is out on whether the black peel-off masks you’ve seen all over Instagram have any lasting benefits, what we can safely say is that they’re very fun to do. However, since all they’re really doing for the skin is some mild exfoliation and removal of surface gunk, you needn’t worry about expensive, active ingredients. In fact, you can DIY almost exactly the same product.
It takes just two items—PVA glue and activated charcoal capsules. The glue works to create the snuff-film-esque peeling effect, whilst the charcoal draws out impurities and absorbs oil. Simply crack a couple of capsules into a cherry-sized glob of glue. Apply with a foundation brush, then wait till it’s dry and peel to your heart’s content.
DIY Spray Essence
One of the most confusing aspects of the K-Beauty routine is the essence. I spend almost all of my days thinking about beauty products, and even I’m not 100% exactly what an essence is. But here is an explanation based on my understanding: an essence is more than a toner, but less than a serum. It usually has a texture slightly thicker than water, but is definitely runny. And it is typically a fantastic way of sandwiching more hydration into a skincare routine.
Essences can vary hugely in price, although an amazing budget one is the CosRX 96 Snail Mucin. However, if you don’t feel like buying a whole new product, you can DIY a hydrating essence fairly easily. An amazing base is aloe vera gel. It’s lightweight and plays well with other ingredients, and is super moisturizing and soothing. On top of this, you can really customize. Rosewater is excellent for thinning out consistency, and specific essential oils can treat skin concerns (tea tree or neem for breakouts, rosehip or sea buckthorn for adding glow). Decant into a spray bottle, and place it into your skincare routine post-toner and pre-serum. You’ll notice a dewier, bouncier complexion for it.
DIY Cushion Compact
A makeup trend intrinsically linked to K-beauty is that on the cushion. By now, they’re almost everywhere, with everything from brow products to highlighters being dispensed in a squishy compact. The reason cushions are so very great is that they make touching up liquid makeup incredibly easy to do on the go. However, if your favorite product doesn’t come in a cushion, fear not.
Empty cushion compacts can be purchased online—Amazon always has some, for example. Once you have one, you can start to get creative. One great idea is to use them to top up your SPF throughout the day. However, you can mix your sunscreen of choice with a full-coverage foundation and enjoy portable coverage and protection. You can even add a few drops of liquid highlighter to add luminosity to your base. Foundation too light? Mix it with a darker one for a fully customized cushion shade. Basically any beauty product can be cushionified, if you just believe in yourself.